For many, having a child is a milestone and an exciting time for parents-to-be. However, the delivery itself, especially to a hospital, can be extremely expensive and potentially derail future financial goals.
To avoid being caught off guard by a hefty medical bill, here are all the costs related to childbirth, the average cost of giving birth to a child in the US, and what you can do to prepare financially.
Key Calving Statistics
- September it is the month with the highest average birth rate in the US.
- Due dates are really estimates. According to CDC data from 2017, 73 percent of babies were born before their due date.
- Assuming no complications arise, the average cost of an insured vaginal delivery can range from $300 and $5,000while the average cost without insurance can cost you between $9,000 and $17,000.
How much does it cost to have a baby?
The cost of having a child in the United States will vary based on several factors, including costs and location of the place of birth, type of delivery, length of stay, medications taken, such as an epidural, and any complications that may arise during the delivery process. .
The total cost will also depend on the details of the health insurance and whether or not the birthing center accepts health insurance. For example, many women choose not to give birth in a hospital and instead opt for a birthing center, which may not accept all forms of insurance.
Cost of a maternity center vs. a hospital
Birthing centers focus on holistic childbirth and typically don’t offer the same medical options as hospitals, such as epidurals and labor induction, making them an option for women with low-risk pregnancies.
Keep in mind that hospitals are medically considered the safest places to give birth, so birth centers are not ideal for women with pre-existing conditions that may put them at risk of complications. Although birthing centers are usually run by midwives and may have a resident OB/GYN or pediatrician on staff, birthing centers are not considered medical facilities. These are usually free-standing buildings, although some may be attached to hospitals.
Women generally choose to deliver at these centers because of the comfortable and serene environment, the greater control over their birthing process, and the lower costs. In most cases, most of the cost of a birthing center comes from midwifery services. The average uncomplicated prenatal care and delivery costs about $3,000 to $4,000 Uninsured
Compared to double-digit delivery costs at a hospital, low-risk women who can take the risk of a doctor not being available and want a more natural birthing experience can save thousands of dollars at a birthing center.
Vaginal costs vs. Caesarean section
In the US, vaginal deliveries have been the most popular and least expensive delivery option for many years. According to a 2020 study, only 31.8 percent of live births in the US were delivered by cesarean section (C-section).
Cesarean sections are often more expensive than a vaginal birth because they are considered an intensive surgical procedure and therefore require a longer hospital stay than vaginal births. There are also surgical resources like anesthesia and additional fees associated with C-section procedures that don’t come with vaginal deliveries.
Here are the average costs of both forms of delivery with and without insurance:
|Process||Average cost (with insurance)||Average cost (without insurance)|
|vaginal delivery||$300 to $5,000||$9,000 to $17,000|
|Caesarean section||$300 to $5,000||$14,000 to $25,000|
Despite the higher costs and longer recovery time, there are medical reasons why someone might choose a C-section over a vaginal delivery. A C-section may be necessary to protect the birth parents and the baby due to complications during pregnancy, an emergency during labor and delivery, or if the birth parents have a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes.
Additional charges for hospital delivery
It’s important to know what you’re paying for when you give birth in a hospital. Between fees, room costs, blood tests, and ancillary recovery expenses, the costs can add up quickly.
here are some average charges and costs that might appear on a postpartum hospital bill, depending on preferences.
|Mother’s hospital expenses (equipment, room, etc.)||$2,700|
|Hospitalization expenses for the baby (equipment, care)||$900|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||$5,202|
The charges and cost breakdown will be different for each mother, depending on what ancillary resources they choose to pay for. For example, anesthesia will only be charged to mothers who choose pain management, and only those who choose to have a certified midwife will be charged for that service.
Also, it is not uncommon to receive two bills: one for the birth parents and one for the newborn. However, the birth of the newborn must be covered by the Newborn and Mothers Act of 1965, so for pediatric care to be covered, the baby must be enrolled in the birth parent’s health insurance plan within 30 days after birth.
Breakdown of costs by states
The average cost of childbirth varies widely from state to state, making it difficult to financially plan for the cost of labor and delivery when looking at national averages.
Here are the five pluses and minuses expensive states in the US to give birth before health insurance, considering that there are no complications that need to be counted in the total cost.
Most expensive states to give birth
|Condition||vaginal delivery||Caesarean section|
Least expensive states to give birth
|Condition||vaginal delivery||Caesarean section|
delivery costs vary by state due to a potential combination of provider prices and intensity of delivery cases by state.
Other costs to consider
In addition to delivery costs and hospital bills, there are a host of costs that come with being a parent. In fact, the average cost of your baby’s first year could cost you a whopping $11,195. While this cost will depend on how many children you already have and how many resources you have at your disposal, it’s no secret that children are an expensive investment.
- Baby clothes: $360
- Baby food: $300
- baby formula: $821-$2,920 (current formula shortages and inflation are worth noting)
- Baby room furniture: $1,500 (includes crib, mattress and bedding, changing table, rocking chair, dresser and other decorative items)
- diapers and wipes: $300
- Stroller, car seat and baby carrier: $500
- Toys: $150
How to pay hospital bills after giving birth
Although it would be ideal for your delivery to go exactly as planned, that is not always the case. If you get a bigger bill full of emergency costs or stay longer than anticipated, it can make you anxious. However, financing options can make the amount more manageable.
- health insurance: Routine antenatal, delivery and newborn care are essential services covered by all qualified health insurance plans. Depending on the insurance and type of plan, health insurance can save thousands of dollars on your hospital stay.
- Health insurance: Like employer-sponsored health insurance, Medicaid coverage includes prenatal care, labor, delivery, and medically necessary costs. Medicaid is offered in every state for Qualification low-income people, including pregnant women.
- personal loan: A personal loan can take the overall hospital bill and make it more manageable by breaking it up into monthly payments. While it shouldn’t be your first resort due to potentially high interest rates, it can be used as a tool to offset lost income due to unexpected expenses. You can also estimate expenses before you get a loan with a loan calculator.
- Alternative financing: There are many federal, state, and local laws. organizations dedicated to helping new parents who do not qualify for Medicaid. The support of these organizations ranges from helping women find affordable health care to addressing food insecurity.
Ways to plan ahead for a baby
The best thing an expectant father can do for himself is to financially plan for all possible scenarios during his delivery. In addition to planning your intended method of delivery and facilities, there are other ways to ensure there are no future financial hardships due to the costs associated with labor and delivery in the US.
- Create space in your budget: If you’re planning a pregnancy, start making room in your monthly budget for anticipated delivery costs as soon as possible or as soon as you see those two pink lines. Evaluate your weekly expenses and see what ancillary expenses you can eliminate to allocate more funds to a column dedicated specifically to childbirth.
- Stay in the network: If you can, try to stay in the network whenever possible. Choosing in-network pediatricians, hospitals and physicians will ensure that your costs are at least partially covered by your insurance.
- Know your insurance coverage: When making your financial plan, do your research and learn what your insurance covers regarding childbirth, and keep an itemized list of your possible out-of-pocket costs.
- Please note other accounts: Don’t forget to consider other accounts for your child, such as a savings fund for the future or for college. The best way to do this is to open an account after the child who earns interest is born. To make sure every payment is sent, set up an automatic deposit that sends a set amount of money each month to your child’s future account.
The bottom line
While childbirth costs vary widely across the US based on multiple factors, even the cheapest hospital costs are still a big part of the change. However, with good planning and extensive research, it is possible to substantially reduce those costs.
You shouldn’t have to worry about how you’ll pay your bills while caring for a newborn. Knowing your needs and the resources available to you are the keys to making your postpartum payment as easy and stress-free as possible.